Everyone these days is talking about Karl Ove Knausgaard, in particular his ambitious six-volume series of autobiographical novels, My Struggle. But fewer people seem to have read (in English, anyway) his first and second novels, which he wrote before turning his lens squarely on himself. It’s the second of those books we’re digging into this week, the doorstop-sized A Time for Everything, which recounts an reimagines several (mostly Old Testament) Bible stories while also charting the history and evolution of angels. Oh, it also tells the story of a fictional 16th-century theologian who saw some angels in the woods as a kid and basically freaked the fuck out.
THERE IS A LOT OF STUFF GOING ON IN THIS BOOK!
We try our best to unpack the novel, and debate whether we should be impressed by its ambition or turned off by its sometimes-rambling narrative. We also discuss the pedantry of Medieval and Renaissance theologians, and seeing familiar stories from new, Nordic angles.
This week’s pick was the result of our listener poll, following another year’s successful fundraising drive. Thanks again to everyone who donated money, and thanks for all your book nominations!
A couple links specific to the Knausgaard book. Here’s a Guardian review that sounds kind of a cautious note about the book, praising its Biblical retellings but not sold on its essayistic jags. Here’s a more positive review from Bookforum. And here’s an interesting 2013 interview with Knausgaard from The Paris Review.
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